Subtle Process of Customer Acquisition

What takes a business to grow? Online presence? More sales? Or more profit? Anyway, it all comes down to one factor ― more customers!

By definition, customer acquisition is the process of acquiring new customers or converting potential leads into new customers ― in a way that is measurable, achievable and repeatable. Every business needs customers ― your idea could be utterly awesome, but if it doesn’t serve anyone, it’s practically vague!

Thus, comes customer acquisition. For an organization, be it a small-scale or a vast one, customer acquisition is essential and a significant time-consuming task. A multinational organization might have a dedicated team to handle this process; however, a company with a small team might not be at leverage to spend time. Most of the time, a gap is seen between acquisition and meeting the customers’ needs. 

Let’s talk about how one can fill that gap ― with different methods and correct strategies.

Channels for acquiring new customers

Traditionally, customers were brought in using personal selling and marketing. However, a study shows that more than 50% of people agree that a close relationship is necessary to trust a brand. It brings revenue. Yet, the advancement of digital marketing and e-commerce has a massive impact on this model. Starting from an individual to an MNC, reputation and customer feedback is a must. In fact, authors Gabriel and Justin have suggested that any company must divide their time equally between customer acquisition and product development.

These are some of the popular methods and ‘easy to adapt’ channels that can help you in acquiring new customers.

Viral Marketing

A widely popular technique is viral marketing, where your existing customers and users bring more people. This strategy requires the least amount of time with a minimal investment.

  • Word of Mouth – when a customer uses a product, they tell their friends about it. However, the company has no control over this, and sometimes it might have an adverse reaction.
  • Virality due to usage – when you use a product, your friends start using it too. A classic example is when Facebook was inducted in 2004, only a few people joined. Gradually, people got addicted, and another social media platform, Orkut, gradually became obsolete.
  • Communication and features – some applications like Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams are preferred in organizations. Looking at their benefits, a user may start using them personally.
  • Rewards and incentive programs – applications like CRED, Google Pay, American Express, have expanded their business hugely by providing referral rewards. After all, who doesn’t like freebies!

This process of marketing has seen much positive feedback; however, it has no control over customers. People might switch to another product, and you may not be in leverage as to know why. Also, many times comments and social media impacts can hugely overturn the business. For example, when WhatsApp introduced its new policies, a lot many people rethought and switched to Signal, making it one of the highest-grossing apps in the play store overnight.

That’s where ORM, aka Oral Reputation Management, and PR, aka Public Relations, comes in!

Public Relation

It is basically reaching out to your customer via newspapers, media, and blogs. When you reach a newspaper or a magazine, you use the monetary resource to let the mass know. Blogs are also a choice, but it needs time. Most of the time, positive feedback is circulated; however, you might have to use significant time and money to meet your customer expectations – since reaching out to the masses does not automatically guarantee that all the people will start using your product.

Social media platforms, like YouTube, are heavily used today for unconventional methods. Brands take support from celebrities and popular individuals to get their business/ product reviewed. That’s where the term Influencer Marketing comes into play!

For example, YouTube channels like The Linus Tech Tips, Technical Guruji, etc., are viral channels where they review gadgets like smartphones. Based on the channels’ fan-following, you get customers without spending much time.

Search Engine and Social Media Advertisements

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are well known and widely used. All of them provide an advertisement option where you pay to show your product at the top of the search page. Similarly, social media like YouTube, Facebook also have premium services where your products are displayed in-between videos or in the banner to the masses. Social media advertisement has seen a market growth of more than 40% in the last few years (Hoelzel 2004); obviously, the business has gained!

This has also given a boost to the Performance Marketing career. Brands pay huge amounts to experts just to maintain their ROAS!

Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization

There was a time when Search Engine Optimization had outcasted everything ― and it still does, however, content rules!

And as I’m writing this, there will be another viral content ― in the form of photos, video or blog ― making users gaga.

Offline Advertisements

Hoardings, banners are not dead! They are pretty much used widely and are an efficient way of bringing customers if appropriately used. Again it’s all about what kind of content you are putting on it ― great content attracts customers and grabs attention! 

Business Development and Sales

For serial entrepreneurs, nothing beats if you have a proven record! If your previous product were widely accepted, likely your new product will be too. Similarly, if your product has a good reputation in sales, it will generate qualified and close leads.

For businesses who are new in this space, if you try this channel, bear in mind that you should still be on the lookout for areas of your pipeline that are slowing down the sales process. Are there any inefficiencies or items that prospective buyers might get hung up on that you can smooth out and make the purchase decision as simple as possible? The fact that you are contacting people explicitly does not preclude you from maximizing your pipeline as well.

The bottom line

Given all the above points and channels of customer acquisition – now is the crucial time to decide which is the best one and choose your medium. The below points should clarify some doubts.

  • If your product is similar to some other service in the market – use the same channel to let people know. Your competitor should have done their study, and you should minimize research and work. Precisely, understand where your competitor lacks and use it to your advantage.
  • Budget is crucial; some channels cost you more! Goals are the third most priority. Do you gain by reaching out to mass? Can you handle your product if your customer increases exponentially?
  • A strategy is to choose three channels and study their reach, effect, and customer growth. 

What did work for your business? Share your learning with us, and we’ll be happy to share it with the masses!!

Product Management | Entrepreneurship | Growth & Marketing

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